Handbag brands: how to invest in a classic this autumn

Handbag designers propose streamlined shapes which are proportioned to perfection

Handbag brands Gucci Jackie bag and Chanel 11.12 bag
Left, jacket, £2,200; ‘Jackie’ bag, £1,590, both by Gucci. Earrings, £195, by Completedworks. Right, jacket, £5,770; skirt, £1,635; ‘11.12’ bag, £5,555, all by Chanel. Bracelet, £32,700, by Sophie Bille Brahe. Fashion: Jason Hughes
(Image credit: Alice Fisher)

Fashion has flirted with bag shapes both spectacularly sizable and ludicrously Lilliputian. But if recent lifestyle changes have taught us anything, it’s that our accessories should be easy to use. As a result, we’re banishing styles that have Mary Poppins-inspired dimensions or surface areas too miniscule to contain a credit card, and embracing chandbag brands that propose classic silhouettes proportioned to perfection.

We’re sizing up handbag brands creating styles with a streamlined persuasion, which nestle ergonomically under the shoulder. Some, like the Chanel ‘11.12’ bag and the Gucci ‘Jackie’, are updated brand signatures, while others, including the U-shaped Prada ‘Cleo’ and the boxy Hermès ‘Mors de Brides’ are new silhouettes. The ‘Cleo’ nods to minimalist 1990s silhouettes in the Milan label’s archive, while the horsebit-inspired closure of the ‘Mors de Brides’ nods to the Parisian maison’s equestrian heritage.

Classic bags: Cleo bag, by Prada

Handbag brands Prada Cleo bag

Top, £810; trousers, £845; ‘Cleo’ bag, £1,520, all by Prada. Bracelet, £700, by Alighieri

(Image credit: Alice Fisher)

Nineties fans rejoice! Prada's ‘Cleo’ bag reinterprets a curved shape style from the decade of style that keeps on giving.


Mors de Brides bag, by Hermès

Handbag brands Hermes Mors de Bride bag

Bodysuit, £1,950; skirt, £3,800; ‘Mors de Bride’ bag, £4,500, all by Hermès

(Image credit: Alice Fisher)

The striking hardware clasp of the Parisian brand’s ‘Mors de Bride’ bag draws on its iconic equestrian heritage.


Caro bag, by Dior

Handbag brands Dior Caro bag

Jumpsuit, £1,600; bralette, £650; knickers, £670; earring, £390; ‘Caro’ bag, £3,300, all by Dior

(Image credit: Alice Fisher)

The French label’s signature Cannage quilting complements its iconic ‘CD’ clasp in this tactile and classic creation.


Le 5 A 7 Hobo bag, by Saint Laurent

Handbag brands Saint Laurent Le Monogramme bag

Jacket, £2,175; ‘Le 5 A 7’ Hobo bag, £1,285, both by Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello

(Image credit: Alice Fisher)

The Parisian label’s ‘YSL’ logo is an iconic motif designed in 1961 by Cassandre. Let it nestle snugly under your shoulder.


Triomphe bag, by Celine

Handbag brands Celine Triomphe bag

Jacket, £1,950; roll-neck, £365; ‘Triomphe’ bag, £1,550, all by Celine by Hedi Slimane. Necklace, £1,150, by Alighieri

(Image credit: Alice Fisher)

The Parisian maison’s label draws on bourgeois motifs, incorporating its signature Triomphe logo within its striking clasp.


Roman Stud bag, by Valentino Garavani

Handbag brands Valentino Garavani Roman Stud bag

Jumpsuit, £1,690, by Valentino. ‘Roman Stud’ bag, £2,100, by Valentino Garavani. Earrings, £295; bracelet, £395, both by Alighieri

(Image credit: Alice Fisher)

Roman label Valentino Garavani has sized up the stud details synonymous with its accessories to striking effect.


Moonlight bag, by Fendi

Handbag brands Fendi Moonlight bag

Jacket, £2,390; skirt, £920; ‘Moonlight’ bag, £1,450, all by Fendi. Earrings, £585, by Completedworks

(Image credit: Alice Fisher)

There’s a bohemian leaning behind Fendi’s crescent-shaped shoulder bag, accentuated with tortoiseshell details and striking stitching.


Shoulder bag, by Salvatore Ferragamo

Handbag brands Salvatore Ferragamo bag

Dress, £3,045; bag, £1,830, both by Salvatore Ferragamo. Earrings, £280, by Alighieri

(Image credit: Alice Fisher)

All hail the pared-back classic shoulder bag silhouette, demonstrated sublimely here by Florentine brand Salvatore Ferragamo.


Curve bag, by Alexander McQueen

Handbag brands Alexander McQueen Curve bag

Jacket, £1,940; ‘Curve’ bag, £1,090, both by Alexander McQueen. Earrings, £350, by Alighieri

(Image credit: Alice Fisher)

The London brand’s curvaceous bucket bag style features an eye-catching debossed seal detail. §


With contributions from